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Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey

Volunteer Program FAQ

Below are the most commonly asked questions regarding the Volunteer Program at AWA. If you have questions that are not listed below, please contact volunteers@awanj.org 

Getting Started

Simply complete a volunteer application! For children 12 to 15 years of age, an application must be submitted for both the child and parent/legal guardian. If you are 16 or 17, you may complete and submit an application, and you will need to provide written parental consent.

After you submit your application, our volunteer coordinator will be in contact with you within two weeks to schedule orientation.

Following your application submission, our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you within two weeks. They will provide you with the necessary information about attending our volunteer orientation.

Volunteer Training

After our volunteer coordinator receives your application, you will be invited to attend an orientation. Orientations are held two to three times per month from 6 to 7pm in the Pet Clinic. When you are contacted, you will receive more information about specific dates.

Following orientation, you will need to complete Level 1 training. Level 1 volunteers do not handle animals. During this time, you will learn about AWA’s procedures and facility needs. You may then continue training depending on what volunteer work you would like to do.

Following orientation and Level 1 training, you may attend a training class for animal handling (either dogs, cats or bunnies). Once you have completed this training, you can continue you’re ready to offer companionship through play and petting.

Volunteers can attend training classes to learn advanced dog and cat handling techniques. Following completion of this program, you will help mentor other volunteers on dog and/or cat handling.

More information about training will be covered in your volunteer handbook.

Volunteer Opportunities

There is truly something for everyone who wants to volunteer at AWA! Volunteers are always needed for our education, outreach and events, as well as administrative help. There are also opportunities caring for our animals and becoming involved in our foster program.

You may choose to volunteer as little or as often as you’d like. If you do not volunteer within 90 days of orientation or you are inactive for 1 year, you will no longer be in our volunteer database. If this happens, you will have to re-submit the application, attend orientation and begin training.

Depending on what volunteer work you would like to be involved in, you will need to complete different levels of training. AWA asks all volunteers to help in different areas when help is needed.

Children and Volunteering

AWA is proud to allow children as young as 12 to volunteer, but children ages 12 to 15 must volunteer WITH A PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN. Ages 16 and 17 may volunteer with written parental consent.

Yes. For the safety of our volunteers, staff and animals, there are some restrictions. For example, junior volunteers (12 to 15) will not be allowed to walk dogs – a parent or legal guardian will have to hold the leash. More rules will be covered in the volunteer handbook.

All information about High School Service Week can be found here. If you need further information, please contact outreach@awanj.org

Twice a month, JUNIOR VOLUNTEERS (12 to 15) can sign up to join our Junior Volunteers club and create enrichment crafts for our homeless pets and earn service hours without their parents needing to be present.